Helps & Hints

Water Heater Flushing

Step-by-step (recommend annually)

  1. Turn water heater thermostat to lowest setting.
  2. Connect a hose to the bottom drain valve and direct the end of the hose to the wash tub basin, floor drain or out a window.
  3. Turn off the valve on the cold water supply pipe located above the heater.
  4. Go to a faucet upstairs, preferably the kitchen, and turn on the hot water side.
  5. Drain the water heater through the bottom drain valve until there is little pressure present.
  6. Turn hot water off upstairs.
  7. Turn on the valve on the cold water supply line. Turn the valve on and off a few times to agitate the sediment on the bottom of the water heater.
  8. Drain water heater again through the bottom drain valve and keep open until discoloration and sediment have diminished.
  9. During the draining and flushing process some trapped air will accumulate in pipes and the water heater. Open both the cold and hot water sides of faucets in bathrooms and kitchen sink to expel any air. This would also be a good time to remove the aerator from the faucets for cleaning.
  10. Return water heater thermostat to its previous setting.


Water Softener Cleaning

(recommend quarterly)

One of the most common complaint calls to a water department is for low pressure. The majority of the time the problem is a water softener that has never been cleaned out. Water softeners will filter out iron but the salt used for regenerating the softener does not remove all of the iron from the softener. The softener plugs up with iron and reduces the pressure. Compare the pressure at a hard water faucet versus a soft water faucet. If the hard water seems to have a greater flow then your softener may be partially plugged. Use the bypass that is on the back of the softener control head and place the softener in bypass. You are now diverting all of your water around the softener and your flow should increase. If this happens, you need to clean out the softening media inside the softener. The good news is that iron removing products are sold at most hardware and big-box stores. Here is a link to the most common product. ALSO – unplugging your softener does not turn it off. If you do not intend to soften your water you need to bypass it. Water is still running through your softener if it is not bypassed and it will eventually plug up reducing your water pressure.


Pink Residue in Bathrooms or Sinks

(as needed)

Pink stains in damp areas isn’t a problem with water quality. It’s actually a very common airborne bacteria that loves to grow on damp surfaces. This could be toilet bowls, shower heads, drains, and on tiling. You might even see it in your pet’s water bowl. The bacteria is most likely Serratia marcesens, which is most commonly found in soil. You will usually see Serratia grow when conditions are dry and windy. The bacteria enters the home through open windows or air vents. When it finds a moist area it begins to grow and develops a pinkish or sometimes gray color. Any of the common household cleaners that contain bleach will kill Serratia. The drop-in toilet tank cleaners work very well as they kill bacteria in the tank as well as the bowl with each flush. The chlorine that’s in our drinking water will quickly evaporate out of the water that is in the toilet tank leaving it unprotected from bacterial growth. That unchlorinated water then enters the bowl during the flush. The same is true for water that is run through a carbon filter. The carbon will strip the chlorine away leaving it unprotected from bacterial growth. Make sure to inspect the underside of any faucet filters you may have in your home for a pink stain. If you find staining, remove the filter housing from your faucet and soak it in a bowl of water with a quarter cup of household bleach. Let it soak until the pink coloration disappears and then rinse the bleach off of the filter housing before placing it back on the faucet. Keeping areas dry will help prevent the growth of Serratia.


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